Liveblogging American Idol’s Top 8

9:00pm: We’re down to the final eight competitors now, and Seacrest was two words for us as one of the Monkeys (Dolenz, I think) is shown: Jennifer Lopez. He calls her silver screen work prolific. Really? Prolific?9:02pm: Lopez is here to pimp her album as she coaches the top Ocho. If my Spanish was better, I’d try to interject it into this portion of the liveblog, but alas. Lopez is talking about people feeling good, and she watches it at home. She even has her favourites, but isn’t telling. I bet she likes…other peoples.

9:03pm: Melinda is performing ‘Sway’, and this is a bit of a departure for Melinda. Lopez wants her to be sexy and sultry, and Melinda’s not having it.

9:04pm: The crowd opens the performance by cheering her choice of attire, and she opens singing this entirely like you would expect Melinda to sing a song like this. She is certainly not Latin in her inflections or anything, but her voice is already so rich with sound that it really doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things. She isn’t getting a real power moment in the song, but she’s continuing to stand out against the rather aggressive band and backup singers…and ends on the power note.

9:07pm: Randy believes it is another solid performance, not quite her best, and there was some…Salea Cruz? Okay. Paula calls it subtle and sexy. Simon Cowell? He didn’t like it. He just found that the song was all about personality, and she appeared far too old considering her age. He throws around lazy, wooden and lacking in the ‘Wow’ factor.

9:08pm: Melinda’s glad that Simon has finally been able to say something bad about her, which actually sounds more condescending than I would have thought.

9:12pm: Oooh, we’re opening with Melinda AND LaKisha? This is rather dangerous for likely both of these individuals, in terms of perhaps finding themselves in the Bottom 3 for the first time. LaKisha is here to make a better life for her and her daughter…I can’t argue with this.

9:13pm: Oh my god, Lakisha is singing ‘Conga,’ this is a terrible, terrible idea. She opens the performance dancing awkwardly above the judge’s desk. I guess this is better than Haley performing it, which wouldn’t be quite as musical. Even though she’s singing relatively well, her voice just doesn’t have the flavour for this song. She won’t be recording a Latin album anytime soon, and it’s very clear that she’s out of her element with this performance.

9:15pm: Randy loved that she came out and had a good time, which Melinda didn’t seem to do (They were entirely different songs, so there really wasn’t the same opportunity for Melinda). Paula is actually more critical than Randy, what the hell is this? She felt it was really safe, really bland (It was), and she wants her to push further. Wow, that was actually insightful. LaKisha argues that she stepped out of her comfort zone, but Simon agrees with Paula: it’s a safe song, not at all vocally challenging, and the dancing wasn’t very good. Wow, opening the show with the two powerhouses and each get a nice verbal tongue-lashing from Simon…and PAULA?

9:17pm: Chris Richardson is singing ‘Smooth’ from Santana f. Rob Thomas. That should be interesting.

9:21pm: We’re back for an Idol Gives Back update…and Rascal Flatts will be there? Um, Ryan, that’s not a GOOD thing.

9:22pm: I think his voice is too nasally for the song, but Lopez moving it up an octave will certainly help. And yet, when he starts, he’s excessively low. He’s a bit rough in the chorus part of the song, and he looks uncomfortable until he takes the mic from the stand. He didn’t really get a chance to embrace the song at any level of originality, which I think is his biggest problem.

9:24pm: Randy thinks he did a really good job with some runs at the end, which is…good, I guess. Paula thinks it was a hot performance, and she was very interested in its sexiness. Simon, however, enjoyed that it felt more contemporary than the first two singers and this one seemed like a good performance. I’ll give Simon that much, to be honest; the performance was strong. It just didn’t really come through vocally for me.

9:26pm: After this commercial break, there will finally be two straight performances without a commercial break.

9:30pm: As we return, it’s time for Haley Scranato. She’s singing ‘Turn the Beat Around,’ and Blake comes in to beatbox to help Haley out with the beat. And there’s strobe lights for the performance, and a really really loud arrangement. While she’s fine for the opening of the song, she’s struggling to make her voice stand out against the aggressive music in the verses. And, when she hits the next chorus she’s not even singing just “Wooing” and singing the refrain. It lacked power, simple as that.

9:32pm: Randy thinks that it was really karaoke for him, and he feels he could have seen it at any bar. Paula agrees it isn’t a singer’s song, and that she had fun so…ok. Simon knows her tactic: as little clothes as possible. Simon tells her there’s much better singers, so all she can do is have fun. The vocal was so rushed towards the end, barely understandable, but Simon covets her legs.

9:34pm: Haley’s makeup seems off…she seems a little trampy.

9:35pm: Phil Stacey is singing ‘Maria, Maria’…so Latin means Gloria Estefan and Santana? Sigh. Either way, Phil is breaking out some Santana, and is smartly wearing a hat. He’s sitting while performing it, and it’s much better without actually looking at the screen at this moment. He just looks really awkward and uncomfortable singing this, and it’s honestly tough to watch. So much of this song is in his lower register that it’s evening out on the side of Sketchy for me.

9:38pm: Randy doesn’t think it was his best performance, and the passion seemed to be missing outside of the upper range. Paula thought it was vocally quite well (Except for the end which was a bit sketchy). Simon thinks that he’s a nice guy, but there was no originality or life within the performance. There was nothing to get excited about in the end, and Phil appreciates his honesty. Phil is being ridiculous. I like him less.

9:39pm: After the break? Jordin and Blake, two people who should be capable of embracing this theme. What does this mean? Sanjaya’s got the pimp spot.

9:42pm: Jordin is busy answering a worthless question, but it does reveal that she loves 80s music, which makes me enjoy her. Oh dear god, another Gloria Estefan song seriously? Come on, people. Jennifer Lopez thinks of Michael Jackson…for some reason.

9:43pm: See, unlike Haley, Jordin has the voice to pull this off. She’s wearing an odd outfit considering the song, but nonetheless her voice is pulling her through here. The problem with this song is that it really doesn’t have a chorus, so she’s really having to rely on the natural progression of the song and big notes she inserts into the song’s second chorus. The problem is that there just isn’t enough chance for natural strength within the song, it seemed forced.

9:45pm: Randy once again plays the 17-year old card and its Yo Factor. Paula says she had a great time, and Simon? He feels that it was just an OK performance which didn’t contain a stunning element, a progression from the weeks before. I think this was an issue of the other girls getting the more interesting Gloria Estefan songs.

9:47pm: Blake is singing Marc Anthony, which must be awkward. ‘I Need to Know’ is good for Blake, but hopefully he doesn’t have to read the lyrics. His voice is just not consistent enough for certain parts of this song, as it asks him to be at his best throughout pretty well the entire thing. Still, it’s a good fit, almost too good; there isn’t much individuality, which is odd for Blake who usually tries to hard to urbanize songs like this.

9:49pm: Randy thinks it was the best song choice of the night, and it was a hot performance. Paula thinks it was a very smart performance, which I really agree with. Simon thinks it was the best song choice, and best performance so far. Thinking back…yeah, it was. It was the one that managed to…OH MY GOD.

9:50pm: Sanjaya has facial hair. It makes him look like a dirtbag.

9:51pm: Before that interrupted me (I seriously gasped), I think it’s important to note that Blake was the most consistent of the night. His voice didn’t quite have what it took all the way through, but it was more than serviceable for the song he selected. This was an intelligent choice for him, and one that could place him into the male Finale spot. I think that, at this point, LaKisha and Jordin should be worried.

9:54pm: Sanjaya really impressed her with his Spanish song, and he was rushing initially…and I think this is an interesting risk that will likely pay off enough to keep this joke character rolling in the competition.

9:55pm: Seriously, he looks like a dirtbag with the facial hair. The problem with this song is that it actually has range, which is what Sanjaya’s problem is. He might be sitting completely still, but anything lower or higher than his ‘perfect tone’ area is still just as sketchy as it was before. It’s certainly one of his better performances, but it’s all in his range so this isn’t so surprising really. On the whole: I didn’t wretch. Good sign.

9:56pm: Randy thinks he is an incredibly smart contestant, because that was actually really good. Paula thinks the pitch was good, and it was ‘nice’. Now for Simon. His verdict? He didn’t understand a word of it, sang like a 14-year old, and (he’s going to hate himself) but it wasn’t horrible. I would actually agree.

9:57pm: Recapping: Melinda was a bit too samey, LaKisha didn’t get a chance to focus on her best assets in a rather safe and impossible to screw up song, Chris performed well but can’t hit the notes well enough, Haley was all legs and no voice, Phil was fine if you didn’t look at him, Jordin’s song didn’t really give her a chance to break out, Blake picked the most fitting song and performed it solidly, and Sanjaya’s gimmick of singing in Spanish and an unchallenging song will keep him around for a while longer. Phew.

10:00pm: And that’s that. Another week, another gone tomorrow night.

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Filed under American Idol, Reality TV, Television

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